A UK Colour Journey

SDC’s Marketing and Membership Officer, Angela Ackroyd, gives her account of the UK heats of the SDC International Design Competition, which took place earlier this year.

The last of the snow melted away just in time for my UK colour tour taking in the UK regional heats of the International Design Competition 2018; this involves long but energising days spent with nervous students ready to face a judging panel and anxious to make the most of the unique opportunity the competition offers; presenting their work and persuading the judges that their designs fulfil this year’s brief ‘Colour Communication’. 

First stop, Nottingham Trent University for the Midlands heat where students were given a tour of ‘Lace Unarchived’, an exhibition of contemporary lace by award-winning textile designers. Following the judging, guest speaker – artist Heidi Plant – whose sunny personality is reflected in her work, gave a personal account of her life and career ‘Thinking in Colour Brightens the Mind’. Concluding the day, Nottingham Trent University student Yasemin Yasar was awarded first place for her ‘natural, on trend palette and commercial potential.’ The first finalist of the 2018 competition and a great start!

The iconic Fashion and Textile Museum once again was the venue for the London region heat and a room full of inspiring young female designers was a fitting way to celebrate International Womens’ Day. The afternoon was filled with vibrant colour and textiles, dramatic inspiring prints and interesting colour combos but it was the subtle pastels and professional presentation of Megan Stavaru from Norwich University of the Arts that caught the judges eye to take first place with her ‘clearly illustrated designs from concept to final product.’

Day three, I was bound for Plymouth College of Art, SDC college members and our hosts on a grey and wet day which was enlivened by the splashes of colour, eye catching palettes and bold pattern. An introductory workshop provided a welcome distraction for the nervous entrants. After a closely contested heat, the ‘sophisticated’ designs of Ellie-Mae Barr from Falmouth University took top billing, earning her a place with the other winners at the UK final.

Next stop Dundee for the Scotland heat which was kindly hosted by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art where students from five institutions braved the bracing wind and drizzle to present their work. The judges remarked on the ‘outstanding submissions, the depth of research and excellent understanding’ of the theme and the Color Atlas that entrants were tasked with using’ and how good it was to ‘see the focus starting from colour.’ Textile designer Jane Keith gave a presentation ‘Linear Landscapes’ about her use of colour, with samples of her work.

The last of the UK heats, the North of England, was held at Perkin House incorporating dye and colour activities for students from colleges and universities across the region. Laura Trowsdale from Huddersfield University scooped first prize for her ‘clear strong colour palette, beautiful visuals and fine woven samples.’ The judges enjoyed ‘International Day of Colour’ appropriately filled with a wealth of texture, pattern and inspirational use of colour.

The UK final held in York during SDC’s prestigious annual Day of Celebration was an exciting event but presented a difficult decision for the judges who had to select just one of the five winning designs. Midlands finalist, Yasemin Yasar, was named top talent at the UK final and will go on to the next stage of the competition, the Grand Final in November.

Belfast in Northern Ireland was the setting for the Ireland heat of the competition and was enjoyed by students, tutors and SDC members from across Ireland. Students were inspired by presentations from the judges, Julie Hall, Head of Design, Bedeck and Duncan Neil, Creative Director @ Earthed by William Clark who gave an insight into the creative process and use of colour in their respective roles and offered words of advice for the future. Claire Malone, BA Textile Surface Design student from NCAD was declared the winner for her “wonderful palette and utilisation of colour within her work”.

After the whirlwind tour we turn our attentions to the overseas heats and planning the Grand Final of the competition. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our judges for giving their valuable time and sharing their expertise and love of colour with the students – we couldn’t do it without you!

For further information about the competition, please visit the website.

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